How many a weapon-shrouded warrior,
     whose approach is ruin,
inexperienced in fleeing
     or surrender,

                          Have my hands awarded
                     the quick thrust
                          of a tempered, well-joined,
                     straightened spear,

Gashing him open,
     the gurgling of his wound
guiding through the darkness
     hunger-worn wolves in search of prey.

                          I split through his breastplate
                     with a hard, cold blade—
                          the spear tip holds inviolate
                     no stout-hearted brave—

and left him carrion
     to be torn apart,
skull to wrist
     by rustling predators.

– excerpt from the Mu’allaqa of ‘Antara

translated by Michael Sells

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